emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “work demands”

Life Can Turn On A Dime

You know, I am very thankful that when I was in my first professional environment after law school I was surrounded by colleagues who invested in me doing things the right way, and not in doing things for the sole purpose of making them appear right. Truth is, people are especially vulnerable when young, when entering into a profession, when starting a new job, etch.. Unfortunately, there are not enough, if any, collegiate assignments on best practices on “how to best question authority in workplace environments”. Identifying unethical situations is one thing, but what to DO when you are actually faced with them requires (uncomfortable) action. That whistleblowing mention you may get as a part of your employee orientation is simply not enough, especially if you are new, young, and/or trying to establish yourself. How could it be enough? …Two or three sentences then flip the page…Are we assuming that it does not happen (here)?

Realistically, the model many often see is that of “going along to get along”.  As a result, that is the one they most likely publicly follow. Let’s face it, challenging authority or going against the grain leads to labels such as “anti-social”, “troublemaker”, “hard to work with”, etch.. Who wants that, especially when you are new, young, and/or trying to establish yourself?

Oftentimes, people think of politics when they think of corrupt industries. Judas may come to mind, depending on the audience. Rarely do people think about the (“small”, yet numerous) seeds of corruption that are planted which desensitize a nation to cultivate putting profit before people. It’s hard to get over that “we’ve always done it like that” wall. Rarely do people think about the lack of adequate mentors and influential encouragers who, if present, would guide and push you to reach your full potential while supporting you to do the right thing EVEN WHEN it is not popular. So, what happens? People leave jobs they love. People become less available. People complain behind closed doors while a new generation enters the workforce, again unprepared to face these unspoken cycles.

I don’t know if Shani Robinson’s story is true, but I can certainly see how it could be. She was in Essence magazine a few years ago sharing her love story with her now-husband. At that time she was a 27-year old youth counselor, but before that she was a 24-year old teacher in Atlanta. Today she is a convicted felon, but before now she was a product of Teach for America, the national recruitment program that seeks to attract college graduates to the classroom.  See:  http://rollingout.com/news/details-on-convicted-atlanta-public-schools-teacher-whos-pregnant-still-faces-jail-time/

Be wise in your associations.  Be clear about your goals.  Be ready to stand by yourself.  …And know that life can turn on a dime………literally.

Dude, Hire Me!

I had a very honest conversation with a male friend of mine which has inspired this blog entry.  I truly appreciate my friend’s honesty.  The conversation left me pondering a couple of things.  I’ll touch base on a few….

So there I was, comfortably sitting on a sofa when my friend casually mentioned that he is significantly reluctant to hire women.  “WHATTTTT!!!!  WAIT…..”, I must have not heard him correctly!  Sure enough, I did.  For a split second, I struggled believing that this was his true thought.  How could my friend, a guy who I have seen debate unflinchingly in support of women earning equal pay and having equal protection under the law, have this bias.  I have seen him argue against injustices, not just on behalf of women but on behalf of other oppressed groups as well.  Surely he did not admit that his personal preference is to hire men because to him a man will always be his best candidate for any non-domestic job, did he?  YES, he did.

I resisted the temptation to argue with him.  Whatever he said would be unsatisfactory to me.  Anyway, I was more interested in determining how my friend could hold and potentially practice this view.  He explained his position, typical opinions I have heard before.  We would have to agree to disagree.

Mentor Needed

I left our conversation that day with many thoughts.  I still wonder how many men in hiring positions share his views.  Such practices, when gender is replaced by race/colorism, seem easier to spot and more commonly shamed…at least in theory.  The issue, at least with my friend, is not a question of “qualification”.  It is the idea of the traditional roles of women, minus the barefoot part (I hope).  In a society where so many women are financially heading households, in many cases singlehandedly, can she realistically expect to reach the top of her professional and financial ladders, even in situations when the entry door is slightly cracked for her entry?  Do women have a responsibility to help each other succeed?  Is such collective operation necessary for her individual success?  My thoughts…my thoughts…these are only a few…only to be met with that last one of, “am I the only one with them”.

I am happy that not all men follow this practice.  I have been hired by both men and women.  In turn, I have hired both men and women. Both genders have helped me further my career.  Both have tried to hinder it.  I have learned that not everyone is comfortable with a strong, opinionated, educated, professional, and in my case minority-labeled woman.  Let’s face it, when found outside of our traditional roles women make a lot of people uncomfortable.  Oh well, we are here now.  If “dude” won’t hire me, I will be left to determine whether I should hire “dude”.

Balancing Act

Some things I have yet to outgrow. I still love balancing my weight on beams and playing on teeter tooters. Sometimes I walk on edges of curbs. Frequently I balance myself on one leg (or the other) while exercising. Now that I think about it, I have been doing a balancing act for a long time. When I was younger, the challenge of balancing things was fun. These days, I like to think of it more as an art form, which when accomplished is rewarding.

Balancing Book on Head

Last night, I had a great conversation with a friend about the importance of having a “work-life” balance as women. We talked about our family obligations, the demands at work, and our spare time personal pursuits. It is a lot, but like many women we manage…and many times we do so making it look easier than it actually is. Do you think women are pressured to appear perfect? What an impossible expectation. No one is perfect.

The older I get, the more important I find it is to have a “work-life” balance. I have been through the stage of focusing so much on work and missing valuable time with loved ones. I have attended funerals and cried, wishing to have shared more time with the person. That’s not fun.

I have been through the stage of spending precious time with family/friends and have watched professional opportunities pass by. I have wondered if I was making the right decisions. Through trial and error I have found a schedule that I am forever tweaking, however, it is working. I am focused and relaxed, as I am expected to be while balancing. I am at-one with my core…balancing…gracefully. Are you?

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